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Film Room Looks at PSU’s Vincenzo Joseph’s NCAA Wrestling Final Inside Trip of Isaiah Martinez

Let’s break down Cenzo’s incredible inside trip

Cenzo gets the fall

It blew the lid off of the Scottrade Center. Freshman Cenzo Joseph shocked nearly all of the 18,000 in attendance - and a whole bunch more at home - as he not only traded blows with the nearly untouchable Isaiah Martinez, but gave everyone a memory we won’t soon forget. Let’s break down Cenzo’s gutsy inside trip.


Cenzo escaped approximately 8 seconds ago (from the screen capture below), and leads 6-5 in the 3rd. Incredibly, Cenzo has 1:00 riding time on the guy no one can ride. But as Kevin Dresser noted in the excellent “Off The Mat” segment from ESPN, “we’re not going a minute 47 without a takedown”. Indeed, we weren’t going 10 seconds without another takedown. But for the moment, Cenzo and IMar are locked up, in collar ties (1) and hand fighting (2).

IMar - an excellent hand fighter - works into two collar ties, both with inside position. That’s not where Cenzo wants to be.

Why? Because from here, IMar is clear of Cenzo’s head and hands to hit his patented (1) lefty high crotch, to Cenzo’s left (leading) leg. IMar’s lefty high c is exceptional, and he’s killed just about everyone in college wrestling with it. Except - my goodness - the quick-twitch from Cenzo is absolutely disgusting. The grey blur in the shot below is the bottom of Cenzo’s shoe, eluding the grasp of IMar.

Unbelievably, IMar whiffs (1) on his lefty high C. That, again, is stunning, because IMar isn’t exactly a slow, plodding guy. But this being IMar, it’s not just, “oh shucks, I missed on my one shot, guess I’ll go home now.” Rather, his initial shot leads into his second shot. You’ll notice (2) that he’s already transitioning into double underhooks.

And what does IMar try off of the double unders? An (1) outside trip. Check IMar’s feet, as he’s driving into Cenzo. But you’ll notice Cenzo’s also transitioned into double overhooks - a comfortable position for him, and that left leg he twitched out of IMar’s grasp is now firmly planted, heel up, driving back into Martinez.

Cenzo stones the outside trip (1). Too quick again. IMar’s momentum is now stopped cold (2), and he’s exactly where he does NOT want to be - standing up straight, chest to chest with Cenzo, having given up double overhooks. This is (3) big trouble.

You know what’s coming next. Cenzo frees his right leg, readjusts his overhooks (1). IMar’s no dummy. He knows he’s in danger, and looks to sink his hips and bail out.

Because of that backward (bail out) movement from IMar, when Cenzo hits his kick, it’s nuclear-blast deadly. Cenzo kicks like a mule, and really drives forward off his (left) plant foot, showing total commitment to the move. This takes extraordinary guts. As Quentin Wright once famously said, “we’re going over, and one of us is getting pinned. I just hope it’s him.”

Cenzo hits the move so hard that IMar is literally airborne before Cenzo’s finished his trip. Great technique, total commitment, to be sure - but also incredible wrestling timing on Cenzo’s part.

IMar goes over so fast and so hard that Cenzo releases his right overhook and hand plants to slow his momentum.

IMar tries to hit an elevator, kicking Cenzo over in a somersault. Too late thanks to the hand plant, and because Cenzo’s maintained his left overhook.

This is some ninja type stuff (below). Cenzo kicks his left leg back and to his right, in mid air and mid trip, in order to put himself in the pinning position, on IMar’s left side.

Another shot of the mid-air ballet, using his own head as a fulcrum / pivot. Seriously - watch the leg kick on the video. It’s incredible.

Cenzo still has his left overhook, and sticks the landing. Even the Russian judges would give it a 10.0. And now it’s all over but the mat slap and celebration.

To the video.


Wow. Incredible. And it’s even better when you run it in slow motion. What a gutsy, and perfectly executed move. We’ll be watching this one for decades. Congratulations, Cenzo.